Dozens killed in Burkina Faso market massacre
Gunmen killed at least 25 people in an attack on a market in eastern Burkina Faso, the local governor said Sunday, a day after an attack in the north claimed 15 lives.
Local residents say the gunmen on motorbikes killed around 30 people in Saturday’s attack on Kompienbiga livestock market near Pama, a raid the security forces blame on jihadists.
Colonel Saidou Sanou, the governor of Est province, issued a statement Sunday.
“A group of terrorists attacked the market at Kompienbiga…,” he said, putting the death toll at least 25, and several wounded.
This attack, the latest of many, underlined the need for the army and local people to work together to “defeat the terrorist hydra”, the statement added.
A local elected official spoke in terms of tens of dead and said they were mainly local residents and traders.
One resident told AFP the assailants “burst into the market riding motorbikes and started shooting, especially at people who were trying to flee”. This witness put the death toll at around 30.
A second resident said: “It’s hard to say how many people were killed. There were bodies in the market, and others in the bush.”
But he added: “More than 30 bodies were collected” after the attack. He said his brother was at the market at the time and he had had “no news” from him since.
The attack came a day after a convoy of mainly shopkeepers escorted by a local self-defence unit came under fire in the north of the West African country, leaving 15 dead. That attack, in Loroum province, was also blamed on jihadists.
The east and north of the former French colony are the hardest hit by attacks by jihadists, who have killed more than 900 people and caused some 860,000 people to flee their homes in the past five years.
Burkina Faso’s armed forces are leading counter-terror operations with increasing frequency.
The impoverished Sahel country is part of a regional effort to battle an Islamist insurgency along with Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Chad.
Their militaries, under-equipped and poorly trained, are struggling despite help from France, which has 5,000 troops in the region.
Unrest in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger killed around 4,000 people last year, according to UN figures.